O.K, a few of you interested in some of my surprises…and I actually think 2 of them will be a surprise, but hopefully my explanations will come through and explain well enough, so without further ado…

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#5 RYUJI/TAIGA (TORADORA)

Almost all of my top 5 have a thing in common – one or the other half is a lost soul that needs the other to be complete, so really this rating of my top 5 is dependant on who I enjoyed more and who I felt was needed more, so it was a tough decision but I went with this route. And Taiga and Ryuji are a good example of a pair that start from being outcasts to a couple, in mind, romance, in friendship, in the fact they can’t live without each other.

Both of them are outcasts for different reasons (Ryuji with his unfortunate eyes, and Taiga due to her unfortunate temper ^^) however they have friends despite this situation, though both share feelings of loneliness. Taiga in particular despite her best friend Minori is probably the worse off, because of her family situation. And yes, her father is a bastard for what she does to her, and it is a turning point in the relationship between Ryuji and Taiga, but more on that in a bit.

Both become acquaintances through a weird set of circumstances – Taiga practically breaking and entering into Ryuji’s home to get back a love letter she was giving to her crush and turned out to be rather embarrassed about it, so Ryuji makes her feel better by admitting his rather silly things he’s been doing about his thoughts on HIS crush…who turns out to be Minori, Taiga’s best friend. Cue a bit of blackmail and working together as Taiga’s crush is one of Ryuji’s friends Kitamura, and the two begin as almost a failed comedy duo trying to help/hinder each other – well, help Taiga at least. This actually dies out quite early as the initial master/servant relationship is gone as Taiga genuinely does like him though her forms of appreciation and affection are very tsundere, but things like Ryuji calling her Taiga and she calling him Ryuji, she helping him out to get with Minori, their volatile friendship with Ami, throughout everything, the two slowly realise how close they are getting.

This is a strange way in how a relationship progresses because for most of the series, they are clever in the fact of how they do it – because they don’t ever say they never lose their crushes on their respective beaus. However, it is done ever so subtly and beautifully throughout – the scenes with her father when Ryuji finally realises what an arse he has been in trying to push his beliefs to help Taiga out (nearly causing a break of friendship with Minori, Taiga actually tries to get them back together as she realises they are the most important people in her life), the beauty contest scenes, the Xmas party (and the aftermath where Taiga finally realises she loves him), and Ryuji’s conflicting feelings between Minori and Taiga – it is just wonderful how they become a pair(with some additional hilarity with both sides of the family as well) because both were shunned for different reasons (Ryuji’s eyes, Taiga’s attitude) but once they get together, almost everyone begins to see what the true Ryuji and Taiga are like and it helps their relationship as well as friendships become more open with everyone. It is a perfect example of a couple developing through strangers, to friends, to best friends, to partners, to future spouses. And it is so great to see and to watch.

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#4 NANOHA/FATE (MAGICAL GIRL LYRICAL NANOHA)

I think this was a high contender for #1 but hence a few surprises on the way. Nanoha and Fate are a pair that like a few others, technically started as enemies. Unlike a few of them however, there was no hard feelings between either of the girls, it was simply duty as Fate needed the jewel seeds for her mother and certainly had no ill will to Nanoha, whilst Nanoha was only caring about Fate’s beautiful eyes…

This has an advantage that we get to see a few series (and various supplementary materials) to develop their relationship. All questions whether it is romantic or not I direct you to my ‘yuri pairs that are not canon but should be’ so we’ll keep that to a minimum. Here, we’ll focus on just how close they become. They are practically soulmates after the first season. Why? Because for Fate, Nanoha is her first true friend who sees her as she is and wants to be friends because of that. For Nanoha, Fate is something that she wanted to complete her, as despite her young age she felt something was missing in her life, and thanks to her new magical girl status and her rival, now best friend, she becomes complete.

Even in the antagonistic first season in Fate’s POV, Fate herself has no issues (in fact more Arf who is the antagonistic one, and that’s because she loves Fate herself and doesn’t want to see harm to her) with Nanoha, and the fact she immediately goes to help her after the truth is revealed and allowed (and even when released in Season 2, first thing? Go save/see Nanoha) – it allows Fate to actually be a normal girl. This is partly in thanks to the Harlowns, but a lot of it is due to Nanoha. Nanoha allows her to be a normal girl, and she joining school where she is understandably shy, yet gets along with Nanoha’s friends (Arisa practically fangirls over her) and understands the joys of simple things, whether just hanging out or buying a mobile phone. She has the fears of being touched and doesn’t seem initially to comprehend kindness due to everything Precia had did to her, so when Lindy or Nanoha are kind to her, she isn’t sure how to respond. She does progress however, and this friendship has been strong for over a decade when StrikerS appears.

On Nanoha’s side, Fate is basically the one person that makes her feel not alone in this world. This probably has more impact and why this pair is so much higher than others in this situation because of her age. Nanoha is just 9 years old in the first series, and despite a loving family and good friends, she always felt there was something else out there for. She didn’t want to be shackled by what was projected to be her future like taking over the dojo, she wanted to do something else. And boy what she got was very different with her mahout shoujo work. Fate becomes a rival, then friend, then best friend, then…yeah you can decide for yourself, but the point is the two are soulmates for all eternity. They have his spark where without one or the other, the two cannot complete each other – through bonds of friendship, love and care (especially in StrikerS when as young adults, they have a lot more responsibility…yet take care of an adopted daughter, their extended family in her recruits, and still have time to make time for each other) – it’s one of those pairs that you know cannot function without the other, and they will come through for each other no matter what the situation.

The red string of fate is definitely highest with this one.

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#3 NAGISA/TOMOYA (CLANNAD)


Very similar to Nanoha and Fate in terms of completion, and also with the past issues similar to Ryuji and Taiga, Nagisa and Tomoya move ahead of them because they combine the best elements of both of them and manage to become one of the most well loved couples out there, as well as one of the most tragic ones.

The strength of these two is that it is a chance meeting that occurs, where a minor spark hits the male protagonist, and for some reason, he can’t leave her alone. If you watch the beginning of Clannad, it feels like Nagisa is just speaking out loud and not specifically talking to Tomoya at first, and then we switch into scenes at school or Sunohara. Yet when he looks out the window and sees this girl eating anpan on her own, he has to go and see her. Tomoya isn’t the kindness person, he’s a trickster (hell, he pranked Nagisa before he knew her) and has had a reputation of being a delinquent in the past, so the fact he is intrigued by Nagisa is surprising in the first place. Nagisa herself is rather shy and reserved, and sadly has few friends because of being ill and held back in the past, despite having a very lovely personality. Tomoya would probably be seen as her first real friend in a while, and because of that, allows her to get more friends due to Tomoya’s charisma and nature almost carrying forward to Nagisa.

I love the way how their relationship slowly develops, a la Toradora. The strength is that whilst the Key formula of girls with guy is apparent, they never leave Nagisa out of any of the stories. The Fuko arc for example is basically Fuko, Nagisa and Tomoya, and whilst the Kotomi arc is a lot more focused without Nagisa, she (and other girls like Kyou) are not forgotten and involved from the get go. In fact, it’s through the Fuko arc where Nagisa and Tomoya’s relationship becomes stronger as Fuko basically wonders why Tomoya and Nagisa don’t call them by their first names – and whilst they do afterwards (albeit nervously and not as often) it thrusts the first seeds of doubt that he would be with the other girls. But it does continue to tell a beautiful story about this growing young couple – whether Tomoya is suspended, if he’s sick, making sure Fuko is shushed so that a myth can be judged that the first girl that talks to him is his destined, to his relationship with Nagisa’s parents, to his own relationship with his father, this is all discussed and brought through.

What Clannad has a huge advantage over almost most in this list is the fact we get to see them go into adulthood. And yes, I am aware of the infamous spoiler so let’s not go there otherwise my tears will begin to drop for the four-hundredth time (and I’m NOT exaggerating). Seeing Tomoya and Nagisa move into together, Tomoya going into work, Nagisa also trying to help out, Nagisa getting pregnant, and in the true ending, we get to see them as a true family, which is one of the most heartwarming things in existence. I will add that Nagisa’s parents Sanae and Akio are pretty deserving to be on this list as well, as they are truly a rock for both their daughter and son-in-law, albeit in their own silly ways. They sacrifice a lot for Nagisa (mainly their dreams) and couldn’t be happier. And even in the bad times for Tomoya, Sanae doesn’t let herself cry for her daughter because she has to be strong for Tomoya and their granddaughter, which makes you appreciate just how wonderful a woman she is (#1 in my MILF list) – as for Akio, he defines adult child in how fun he is and just how well he gets along with Tomoya (in his own way of course ^^) yet dotes about his little girl, enjoys teasing both of them and of course, the scenes with Sanae and her bread is a classic running gag.

Nagisa and Tomoya continue to be one of my favourite couples, though there is actually one romantic couple that I actually rate above them at #2. There is a specific reason, but you’ll see in a sec – but as far as these two goes, they are the perfect example of a trouble couple (in case by health) but develop love for each other through the natural progression of friendship after both being outsiders, to having a close circle of friends together, to becoming family, to becoming adults, to having a family. It’s a natural relationship that despite all the circumstances and oddities, works charmingly and beautifully. In today’s market, it remains one of the greatest anime ever IMO and these two are the main reason for it.

Whilst a lot may have predicted a lot in the list up until this point, the first two maybe more surprises than you think. But my list, and let’s see why I rate these two the higher, we have a couple…and we have a family pair. Let’s see…

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#2 SOUCHIRO/YUKINO (KARE KANO)

In terms of romantic couples, these two for me even edge out the juggernaut of popularity and awesome that is Nagisa/Tomoya. This one is more manga based, and with good reason – whilst the anime is excellent, it sadly cuts before the real juicy Arima arcs begin. So up until that point, what we do get is a partnership that grows from rivals, to friends, to romance – but with a lot more in between and afterward.

Unlike Tomoya and Nagisa who start out as outsiders, Yukino and Arima are all stars at their schools in terms of intelligence, sports, etc. They however both hold secrets – Yukino is a glory hog who is a slob outside of her perfect exterior at school whilst Arima basically is a bit more mean spirited as he basically works himself to be the best so he won’t be seen as a failure for his adopted parents. In the anime, we get basically the fact they discover each others secrets, the fact that Arima was in love with Yukino at first and then after discovery has his own black mask, but the two do actually learn more about each other, and do fall in love. From here, it’s your case of basically the two learning who they are – with Yukino having to actually learn to see her true self and because of this, she is able to make true friends for the first time. However, it is this which begins to change in Arima, which Asaba first notices. This is where the manga takes over and why I rate this pair so highly.

During the Steel Snow arc, Yukino really discovers being someone else on stage, and no longer tries to hide it. She basically casually tells Arima she is no longer going to focus solely on being the top student despite teachers worried about her if she slows down like she did when they were first going out. At this point, Arima feels something in his heart, the fact that Yukino is able to move out of her shell and accept her ‘dark side’. Arima on the other hand, cannot. He has shadows from his past, which threaten to come out – it is rather tragic with his family history and his parents (but for different reasons for mother and father – MAJOR SPOILERS FROM HERE OWNARDS), especially when they return in his life. He see him at family dos, where he is treated as an outcast because of his family, and whilst before he still acted polite and ignored the jabs, later ones he outright threatens them, showing his dark side for all to see. There is even a scene where he outright makes love to Yukino in a very forceful manner in a climax of his mind demons…which in turn is where Yukino realises what her boyfriend is suffering from.

From there, it is the case of the fact that Arima NEEDS Yukino in his life. He is desperate in trying to hold back the demons and the evils of his past. And Yukino with her friends do that – the mother arc for example, she was abusive in the past but once she sees him being a success, she wants back in his life. And then of course after a few moments of kindness, showcases what a bitch she truly is. Fortunately, thanks to Yukino and Arima’s step-parents, he comes out of it clean, and the first demon is vanquished. His father on the other hand is a lot more complicated – when he returns, Arima realises where his dark side comes from…and actually wants to be part of his father’s life, a young talent jazz pianist who walks on the wild side, but unlike his mother, legit cares for him. Of course, the conflict between the parents gets a tad extreme, but thanks to Arima and Yukino, no blood was spilt. It is a complex relationship where Arima loved ones (stepparents, father, Yukino) all get involved and it is really a cluster screw…

Yukino on her side is the rock that sees Arima for everything he is – his eyes, his hair, his scent, everything is embedded into him, and the same for Arima and Yukino. But whilst Yukino seems to expand in her life, Arima withdraws from it when her energy comes out. Yukino has to learn to see what is going on with her boyfriend, and fortunately Arima is able to tell her, despite his own fears. Yukino’s response? ALL OUT WAR…in the silliest way possible. But it is so typical of Yukino that it showcases just how well the two work together.

Like Nagisa/Tomoya, it shows them develop as well with interaction with their friends, the fact that Yukino gets pregnant (again, showcases a good relationship with Arima’s step-parents when they discuss this) and their future careers, they are a perfect couple on the outside, surrounded by ego and demons on the inside. And for me, that makes like a captivating pair that go through everything in life that isn’t mystical or supernatural, it’s just kids growing up with a lot of baggage, and because they have each other, they are able to get rid of said baggage, and grow into adult life. And that makes a top pair for me.

And now for my number 1….as always strictly opinion and anyone can do their own and agree/disagree. However, when I saw the second series of this and read the entire manga, it was obvious that the true draw was the captivating relationship these two have. And for me, in terms of a pair – they are the best. Why? It’s simple.

They are true family.

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#1 EDWARD/ALPHONSE (FULL METAL ALCHEMIST)

Considering most of the pairs have been either female/female or male/female, the fact my number 1 is male/male is strange enough. However, you cannot deny just how these two have suffered through their lives, growing to hate, love, fight, deny, trick to learn and survive. Yet throughout it all, and all the crap that happens, they have each other…and have always had each other.

Ed and Al are another pair that grow up throughout the series – we see them in flashbacks with their mother, and when she dies, we see the infamous transmutation which causes their current issues, i.e. Ed has an automail for an arm and leg, and Alphonse has no body at all and only lives through his soul being sewn into a suit of armour. These two have had adversity through sad times and through their own doing, but they still won’t give up their goal and are too stubborn (well Ed is at least) to not give up. They learn their mistakes early in the series (Nina…*sobs*) that they cannot meddle with the laws of alchemy, and have to find their bodies in a different way, especially when they learn what their dues-ex-machina, the Philosopher Stone, is actually made from. But the fact is, they keep pushing to find their goal, despite all the hiccups on the way.

But what makes these two my favourite pair is that, even when they are apart, they are not away from each other. You very rarely have them argue (sure, they fight, but it’s usually for training, or in one case, to snap Al out of his state) but the two chat as brothers do, even when the conversation seems a bit depressing (like the fact Al cannot eat, so they chat at night about what foods Al wants to eat once he gets his body back), they are true siblings. I know it sounds simple that of course they are, as they are family, but their circumstances are RADICALLY different. They have to work for the military, they are being headhunted by a warrior named Scar, they are also potential sacrifices for the homunculi, so they have to avoid/fight all these obstacles whilst still doing their duties and trying to find information on trying to get their bodies back. They have a lot of stress because of this, but they NEVER TAKE IT OUT ON EACH OTHER. They are funny together, they have their quirks, and they both acknowledge this, but it never makes them angry or awkward around each other, and the two evolve and learn from their mistakes in life, and never lose the bond they have.

The fact that they eventually succeed doesn’t damper their relationship – again, despite their separate work they are still linked together. They have a lot of friends and comrades that get through their life, but always still linked via those two whether it’s Winry, or Roy, or Riza, or Ling, they never lose that bond. They are fun, strong, they work well as a team, they are intelligent, and whilst Ed has some arrogance, it never overshadows him (that, and Alphonse is a sweetheart) – Ed does grow up a lot throughout the series, his earlier tandrums and annoyances do die out, and part of that is because he is learning to be a good older brother for Al. At the same time, Al gets stronger with his alchemy and Ed despite some initial humour, accepts Al as an equal and trusts him more than anybody else in the world.

Both also have great bonds with other people – and yes, FMA has at least two other pairs (Roy/Riza, Ling/LanFan) that would rate on this list if I didn’t do the one series rule. But for me, Al/Ed is the bond that exceeds almost anything, whether friendship, romance, family, they are the ultimate pair in terms of being together. They can be apart, but they are always there in spirit. On their own, they are strong because they believe in the other, together they are stronger, and even in adversity, they think of the other. They joke, they argue, this is natural being what a family is like. They have friends, they have rivals, they have enemies – through each other they are able to resolve everything, even when they are apart. Their natural bond is unparalled, and this is why above even ones I considering shows I like more than FMA, in terms of a pair that makes the show what it is, Edward and Alphonse are my favourite pair of all time.

I hope you guys enjoyed that, and please bring in ones I haven’t seen to see if they could make it, so thank you!